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date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes some of the important research in experimental pragmatics, most notably studies related to recovering speakers’ intentions, inferring conversational implicatures, and the role of common ground in discourse understanding. My aim is to demonstrate the utility of different experimental methods for studying pragmatics, and how research findings in the field are relevant to traditional concerns within the linguistic pragmatics community. But I will also argue that experimental pragmatic studies show great regularities and significant variation, both within and across individuals, in the ways people speak and understand language. My alternative view claims that dynamical, self-organizing processes form the critical background from which meaningful pragmatic actions emerge. The implications of this position for interdisciplinary pragmatic research will be discussed.

Keywords: experimental pragmatics, communicative intention, conversational implicature, figurative language, common ground, self-organization system

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